Poetry and musings of a zany Mormon girl who is very proud of her Erda roots.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas.

Merry Christmas, no matter your personal views on the matter, because, well, it's Christmas!

This time of year is often characterized by a massive push of consumer greed. The uber cheerful music, showy gift wrapping, and crazed shoppers are enough to make me gag. If I have to hear one more rendition of "Santa Baby" I just might tear off my own ears.

Except, I truly do like Christmas. I like the glittery lights, good feelings, good food, and massive push for family togetherness.

I like gifts!
Receiving is great, but I really love giving gifts. Particularly when I have something especially good in mind for the recipient. The joy of watching them carefully peel off brightly colored wrapping paper is only topped by the singular moment when they realize exactly what is in their grasp. It's priceless! It is beautiful.

Today I received a bit of an unexpected gift.

A touch of the "true meaning of Christmas" in wondrous solidity.

We only had one hour of church, as opposed to the regular three hour set. I arrived late due a miscommunication and arrived just as the children were singing about the birth of Christ. As I sat in the family pew I was a bit surprised to see a dear Brother on the stand in front of the ward choir. Earlier this year we were shocked to learn that this man had a vigorous form of cancer with few treatment options. He's known for some time but waited to share with the community until recently when his health has impacted his ability to participate in normal activities. This man holds my utmost respect and I'm sure he will never know quite how large an impact he has had on the lives of many thousands. He is good and kind and has done much to help my personal understanding of gospel of Jesus Christ without ever knowing.

He had been invited to speak on Christmas to share his feelings about the Savior of the world. His testimony was sweet and simple but powerful.

He opened by stating, "I don't know how many days, weeks or months I have left, but nobody really does."

That alone reduced me to tears. I cried openly as the realization touched my heart that this may be the last time I hear him speak at all. However, I am consoled by the knowledge that he knows where he is going and who he will meet and all will be well for eternity. Death is scary, but not so terrifying when the outcome is understood before.

No one knows when we will be called back to our Heavenly Home. No one knows how much longer we have to set things right. No one knows when our last day will be. That is why it is so important to find joy in every moment. Joy in the journey, no matter where it takes us. That is why we must use today to show others that we love them. That is why we must live today as if it is our last. Because it just might be. But even if it's not, even if we have dozens of years left ahead, wouldn't it feel like a waste if it was used in the pursuit of unworthy goals?

It is no mistake that Christmas is celebrated at the close of the year. We have exactly one week before the new year dawns, bringing new opportunities for change and growth. Let's use this week to prepare not only for the coming year but also for that great unknown adventure that has no knowable time or date. Let us prepare by using every day to become better, more worthy children of a loving God.

The real beauty of Christmas is in its name: Christ. Jesus Christ was born to help us undo all of our mistakes. He helps us to set things right, to atone for the things that have and will go wrong. He shows us that we are worth second chances. He helps us not only to learn but to reach our potential to be more than what we are naturally capable of becoming. It is only through Jesus that we can ever hope to be found worth before our Heavenly Father. He shoulders the weight of sins that would crush us. He sets right the injustices of the world. He does more than you or I can comprehend while in the mortal sphere.

In the New Testament, Luke 2 tells the story of Christ's birth. A group of shepherds were visited that night by glorious angels. The angles brought these common men "good tidings of great joy" and communicated how they ought to recognize the babe. When they found Him, these good men told Mary all that the angels had told them. Mary not only heard and wondered at these words but "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

Don't forget how you feel today. Store up every amazing thing you hear, see, and feel. Ponder them in your heart as Mary did and know that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of the world.

Christ is worth celebrating.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

People Watching

This weekend I went Christmas shopping with my mother. First of all, I adore my mom. She has never-ending pockets of energy even when she claims to be exhausted. Maybe it's just a mom thing, practiced when there are a thousand baby needs and only one Mommy to meet them all. I don't know. All I know is that she is amazing. Some day I want to be as cool as my mom.

As we navigated busy parking lots, stores and mall corridors, we kept things light and purposeful. We'd made a list of those we were shopping for and what we wanted to get them. We'd discussed what the ideal gift would be for each person. We planned where to go for which items and where we could look if the first place didn't pan out. We were organized!

To keep up with our busy schedule and maintain spirits we did a little bit of people watching -- like you can only do during the Holiday season. Here are a few of our observations:

- A woman dropped her cell phone into a freshly changed trash bin at the food court. While she dithered and looked around for an employee to rescue her, a stranger just reached in and pulled up the bag to retrieve the phone. He then proceeded to blow it off as though his breath and spit flecks would clean the device. Handing the phone back to the woman, this knight in shining armor couldn't help but do one more kind deed: he took the trash from a waiting child and disposed of it for her.

- We pulled out of a parking stall near the business fronts as a line of cars formed behind us. A man who had waited for us in the other lane of traffic swooped in and beamed from ear to ear at his good fortune. He waved cheerily to us and was obviously satisfied with his lot.

- A family with three children were waiting to meet Santa. The father grouped his offspring in a corner of the North Pole display and was taking snap shots like he was a professional. He kept barking orders and making the kids stay for more photos. These children where about 10-13. Pretty sure they knew about Santa already...

- After making a purchase at a lonely mall kiosk, my mom and I walked away as two more patrons swooped in declaring their need for the item! People are easily swayed, when they see that someone else wanted something it is quickly placed on their list as well.

- We went to about five shops looking for French cuff dress shirts. When we asked the sales associates, they looked at us as though we had asked if they carried diamond tiaras. Do people in America seriously not know what a French cuff shirt is? We found more cuff links than we did shirts. How many people purchase the cuff links but not the shirts? "Oh, look, cuff links! This is a great gift for the man who has everything and won't ever use my gift!" In any case. if you are interested in purchasing a French cuff dress shirt for a snazzy man in your life please try Dillard's first. They actually have a selection with more than just white shirts.

- We ended our adventure in Wal Mart for a few house hold purchases. While waiting in line we observed an old man in a wheel chair pushing his items in a plastic tote in front of him. *scooch, wheel, scooch, wheel* It just about made me cry.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Never Been Kissed: a film and a rant

I just finished watching Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed for the first time since I was, like, 13 when we watched it at a Young Women's activity. I thought it was extremely inappropriate at the time because we were too young to be dating at all and was mortified by and then grateful when my leader fast forwarded (remember VHS?) through the banana scene. Oh the banana scene!
Now that scene just made me laugh.

Actually, the whole movie made me laugh. You wanna know why?  I related to the plot.

While I think it was unrealistic, asinine, and a little perverted with the main romantic leads being a teacher/student pair I did relate to the heroine.

In the most unflattering way.

She was Josie Grossie in high school, the geek who just wanted to be popular. I was an nerdy little mouse who truly believed she had attained invisibility but just wanted to have a few good friends.

Josie was invited to prom by the guy of her dreams only to be egged instead. I didn't even get invited to prom even though I secretly wanted to really badly and didn't even have a guy of my dreams to egg me.

The adult Josie grew up to be successful doing something she was good at but desperately wanted something deeper. Same boat.

Josie had pet turtles. I've always wanted pet turtles.

She was 25. I'll be 25 in a month and six days.

She'd never really been kissed. I've never been kissed. At all. Unless you count when I was three and he was four and we were going to get married when we grew up. (Ha ha! That sure didn't happen!)

Basically, Josie and I are the same person, right?

It's kind of horrible, but I even do my hair the way Josie does hers in the beginning of the movie. Now that's just creepy!

The thing is: we are the same person. While I would never be quite as horrific as she, I have done and said some pretty cringe-worthy things in my day. *shudder*

There's this scene in the movie where Josie is telling her office friends about how she had never really, really been kissed (let's give a plug for the title!) and she describes a real kiss in this way:
"That thing. That moment. You kiss someone, and it's like the world around you gets all hazy and the only thing in focus is you and this other person, and you know that one person is the person you're meant to be kissing the rest of your life. And for that one moment you've been given this amazing gift and you want to laugh and cry at the same time because you're so lucky you found it and so scared that it will go away."

Forget the ridiculous high school shenanigans that makes this film so difficult to watch all the way through. This quote is the only thing that should have survived the editing process.

It puts words to the ideas that have been floating in my head all my life.

And maybe I get those ideas from when I was, like, 13 and we watched Never Been Kissed for YW's. Who knows.

I had a long conversation with my favorite older sister yesterday. I expressed my frustrations and difficulties with dating in general and how every time I think things are going well it all just comes to a screeching halt for one good reason or another. She listened to my rant about how easy it looks for other people and how I have proof that I don't intimidate all guys and I really do have something to offer in a relationship.

Blah, blah, blah.

Same tired conversation I've had a million times with a dozen people.

You know it's bad when you're sick of your own broken record.

But my lovely, wonderful, beautiful sister had a contribution that stopped my turntable pretty quickly.

"You know," she said, "some people are just casual about those types of things. They find someone who doesn't look entirely like a swamp monster and decide to try it out for a while. But they usually end up unhappy and move on. I'm not like that and neither are you."

It's true. I'm not casual.

Not with the important things.

And what's more important than giving up a part of yourself and hoping that it will be accepted and returned in kind?

So, I'm just going to keep all of these kisses right here on my lips until someone inspiring comes to receive them. And I'm not going to feel bad about it at all.

*shakes fist at society*

The best part about that movie: when I first watched it I thought I'd rather die than be 25 and never have kissed a boy.

Ha ha, ho ho, hmmm.

Yep, call me Josie and send me back to high school.